communication

Tips for Students: Planning Tomorrow’s Career… Today

Thankfully, we have seen some signs of improvement in the economy and employment opportunities. However, today’s graduating students continue to face a job market that presents many challenges, including relatively high unemployment rates, the potential for underemployment, and the possibility of returning to their parents’ home for financial (rather than familial) reasons. All is not lost, however! With preparation, dedication, and a willingness to squarely face today’s realities, it’s still possible for graduating students to find jobs that get them started down a viable career path. During Cengage Learning’s 18th Annual Course Technology Conference, Jeff Butterfield offered a special session Read More…


Conquering Distraction In and Out of the Classroom

For all its benefits, our use of technology has introduced certain challenges into our modern lives, including an increased sense of distraction and information overload. Of course, technology in and of itself is not the problem. In order to keep from feeling overwhelmed, we must master technology, rather than allowing it to master us. Many of the students who enter your classroom are “digital natives” quite accustomed to communicating and finding information online — and also quite attached to their technology devices. Fortunately, you as an instructor can play a role in raising these students’ awareness of how they can use this Read More…


The New Tech Skill Set: Change

“Change it up. Use something a little bit different. Even our lecture styles should be different at times.” — Corinne Hoisington The increasing ubiquity of mobile devices is inspiring a shift in the way many instructors are thinking about classroom applications of technology. In these educational settings, the static experience of desktop PCs in computer labs and tablets-as-expensive-notetaking-tools is giving way to mobile-device-driven projects that draw students into the learning process as participants. And though students may be familiar with consuming social media and the hottest new gadgets, they also need preparation for the ways these technologies can, and will, be Read More…


How to Lead Meetings Effectively (and Efficiently)

It’s clear that meetings are a regular part of your professional life. But just because they’re inevitable doesn’t mean they need to be inevitably awful. With some thoughtful planning, a meeting can be a positive, productive event. To get yourself on the road to running an effective meeting, consider the principles outlined in Mary Ellen Guffey and Dana Loewy’s Essentials of Business Communication, Ninth Edition, summarized below. Before the Meeting

    Establish your purpose for calling the meeting. Are you hoping for a fruitful discussion of an issue or initiative, or will a simple message to relevant individuals adequately communicate your point? If the latter,
Read More…


The Importance of Being a Fire Starter, Not a Fire Hose

What lessons about the importance of student engagement did you learn early in your teaching career? What have you changed about the way you share knowledge with your students as a result? Please share your thoughts and teaching ideas with us in the comments section below. We’ve posted often about how important student engagement is to the learning process. Learning to engage students doesn’t come without some trial and error, however. Knowing all there is to know about a particular subject doesn’t necessarily mean that one will be equipped to confer that knowledge upon a group of Read More…


Having an Experimental Attitude Toward Tech for Educational Purposes

Were you one of the first on campus to flip your course? Have you included a YouTube assignment on your syllabus since 2008? Were you using Twitter to communicate with classes and colleagues before some of your current students had even started high school? Whether your idea flies or flops, you may have found that taking the risk enabled you to discover discover new, dynamic, and effective ways of helping students learn. And furthermore, you’re not alone. According to author Roger Arnold, many instructors are adopting a more experimental attitude toward using technology or new models (such as the Read More…


Addressing the Challenges of Military Transition: Beginning or Returning to College

Guest Contributor: Andrea J. Burr, DP1 First Class Petty Officer.  What particular needs, attitudes, and expectations do former military personnel bring to the college classroom? How can an instructor address those issues, preferences, and challenges within his or her course?

Given her military experience, as well as her work as an instructor and mentor to ex-military personnel, Andrea Burr is uniquely qualified to answer such questions. Below, she shares her insights into the mindset that they bring to the classroom, and she also offers her strategies for helping these students make the most of class time.
Has your classroom played Read More…


Getting Learners’ Listening Skills In Gear

We know that effective listening goes beyond merely hearing what another person is saying; it requires one to understand and absorb what’s been said or presented. Thus, effective listening is a skill that, once learned and mastered, can pay dividends not only within one’s educational career, but in personal and professional settings as well. As an instructor, you can play a key role in helping learners master the art of listening effectively. These simple activities, adapted from suggestions in Marilla D. Svinicki and Wilbert J. McKeachie’s McKeachie’s Teaching Tips, can be worked into just about any class session, and will strengthen Read More…


Connect with Them and They’ll Connect with Class

Guest Contributor Bridgett McGowen-Hawkins, Senior Consultant, Cengage Learning TeamUP Faculty Programs. Allow me to let you in on a secret that I wish someone had shared with me during my freshman year at the front of the classroom and behind the lectern: Students are not automatically captive audiences. What?! Yes, it’s the heart-breaking truth. A student will not show up every Tuesday and Thursday to room 104 in Anderson Hall at 11 a.m. simply because a printout from an academic advisor indicates he should. It’s going to take a bit more. Persistence does not just happen, and in all honesty, depending upon Read More…


Retention Strategies: Tackling Common Challenges

Guest Contributor Sande Johnson, Developmental Studies and College Success Specialist, Academic Services, Cengage Learning. About this time in the term, students start to drop various courses. It may be due to loss of interest or it may be because the material is beyond their ability. What can you do to stimulate interest and keep your students actively engaged in your course? Like our esteemed faculty in higher education, the Academic Services Consulting Group at Cengage Learning often has to address these very issues when launching into course development. We reach out to our instructional designers, editorial, and marketing partners who Read More…